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Ross Planning Commission to Consider Heartland Plan for Highland CC, Rezoning of Northway Elementary

The commission will also consider a plan to build dozens of townhouses along Cemetery Lane.

There's little doubt the Ross Township Planning Commission has its work cut out for itself when it meets Thursday night at 7 p.m. in the commissioners meeting room at the Ross Municipal Center. Three big projects are on the agenda.

Heartland Homes Development of Highland Country Club

A skeptical crowd of 150-200 residents attended the Nov. 29  planning commission meeting when An attorney for the new owner of the former Highland Country Club, and an landscape architect laid out plans for a 300 home development .

Steven Victor, of the landscape architecture firm Victor-Wetzel, said the land would be carved up for 300 single-family and townhomes. The key points:

  • 130 single family homes ranging in price from $350,000 - $500,000.
  • 170 Townhouses priced in the low $200,000 range.
  • 2 entrances along Highland Avenue leading to the single family homes.
  • 2 entrances along Gass Road and 1 along Golf Drive leading to the townhomes.
  • Each home and townhome will have a 2-car garage and a driveway large enough for 2 additional vehicles.
  • A traffic study would be conducted, in conjunction with PennDOT and Ross Township police to determine what changes may be necessary to mitigate the impact of the increased number of vehicles from the development.

About a dozen residents spoke after the presentation, most expressing concern about the increased traffic the development would bring to Highland Avenue, Gass Road, and Golf Drive, which border the current country club property.

The planning commission is expected to make a recommendation Thursday night. Final approval must come from the Ross Township board of commissioners. Their next meeting is Jan. 7.

Rezoning of Northway Elementary Property

 That application comes before the planning commission Thursday night.

Levey & Company bought the former Northway Mall  Dec. 4, and have an agreement to purchase the adjacent Northway Elementary school , which is currently the temporary home of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.

It plans to redevelop both properties into what Gary G. O'Nesti, special projects director for Levey and Company, described as a "mixed hybrid facility."

"It'll be a mixed-use development with retail restaurants hopefully, entertainment, something that will enhance the property and enhance the environment for shopping in the area and on this property," he said. "That's part of the challenge to work through that and then get it to work and get the facility to operate appropriately."

At a meeting at the mall on Dec. 5, nearby residents expressed concerns about increased traffic, particularly along Brown's Lane.

Commissioner Peter Ferraro tried to ease those fears.

"We recognize there's a lot of concerns from the residents and we intend to address all these concerns that you have," he said. "The traffic on Brown's Lane will at the forefront of the discussions we will have with Levey and company. We'll do whatever we can to alleviate the congestion that you are concerned about on Brown's Lane."

Cemetery Lane Townhouses

When Raymond Caldwell, Jr. bought a 6.2-acre parcel of land at 173 Cemetery Lane in Ross Township, the land was no more than a rocky hillside. 

Several years and tons of earth later, the lot is now seven acres of mostly flat land, ready for development.

  

Are you planning to attend Thursday's meeting? What do you think of all of these different development plans. Share your thoughts in the comments box below.   

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Virgough December 20, 2012 at 12:17 PM
A skeptical crowd? Lets get real friends ... this is just another postage stamp development with all the homes basicly looking the same that will be a major imposition on the already stressed roads,schools,water and sewer systems. Will our taxes be reduced with this huge influx of new residents paying big bucks to the township? I'd want to hear how this will benefit the area, as up to now we know it will have a negative impact.
Jose December 20, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Also everyone from the Browns Lane area needs to show up and oppose the Northway School re-zoning. I am certain it will get approved as said above that it will also be a rubber stamp approval without the township caring about what impact it has on its residents. At a minimum there should be a gaurentee there will be no connection from Browns Lane at Marie Drive into the new mall development period, just as was done with McIntyre when Ross Park Mall was developed.
Kevin Y. December 20, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Stressed roads, schools, water and sewer systems? It's certainly not because too many people live in the area. The population in West View and Ross Township is on a steady decline. In 1970 West View had a population of 8,312. In 2010 it had a population of 6,771. That's a decrease of 18.5% over the last 40 years. Ross Township's population peaked in 1980 at 35,102. In 2010 the population had declined 11.3% to 31,105. North Hills School District graduation classes have dropped from over 900 seniors to under 400. In a few years some classes will be in danger of falling under 300 seniors. North Hills football could drop to AAA. Ross Township has very few new houses, 70% of the housing was built before 1970. New developments can stem the population decline, increase the tax base and provide badly needed new housing. Those are some benefits...
J Koehler December 21, 2012 at 04:49 PM
One can only hope that the theoretical tax numbers would be a benefit to the community; more realistically all families in Ross Twp will realize no financial ease in tax burden. What every family will feel, especially those close by will be an even greater burden on the aging, stressed infrastructure. The Limerick partners proposal is singular in vision, maximize profits. Without real constraints placed on the developer by the commissioners then they will continue to look after their own. I salute the commissioners who voted no on the proposal last night; it is their job to look after the best interest of Ross.
Virgough December 22, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Kevin, Then where are all these people coming from? Traffic has gotten worse every year for the last twenty five years I've lived in this township. I can't get out of my own drveway because of the traffic backed up. With all the business on McKnight paying taxes, and every household that now exists (my escrowed taxes are over 3000.00)... how much more do we need?

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